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May the Force (Field) Be With You

Part 2: Displacement mapping a field generator By Stephen Schleicher

In our last installment I walked you through one possible method of creating a growing grass effect for our house in the burbs.  In this installment well begin to build a force field generator that will deflect attacks from those neighbors who are jealous of our new found gardening skills.

Step 1:  Launch After Effects and create a New Comp (Command+N on the Mac, Control+N on the PC).  Name the Comp Displacement Map and click OK.

Step 2:  To this Comp, create a New Solid (Command+Y/Control+Y).  Name this solid Map, and set the size to 1000 pixels wide by 500 pixels high, then click OK.

Step 3:  With the Map layer selected in the Timeline, apply the Fractal Noise effect to the layer.  We want to create a fairly intense field of electricity that warps everything behind it, so in the Effects Control Panel, set the Fractal Type to Terrain.


Lower the Brightness to -30.  In this shot the house if pretty far away, so the electric field should be smaller than the default.  Twirl down the Transform control and lower the Scale value to 25.

Step 4:  Since this is an electrical field, it isnt static and will constantly move and change over time.  We can animate the Evolution setting to do this.  With the Current Time Indicator at the beginning of the Timeline, click the Stopwatch next to the Evolution to create an initial keyframe.

Now move to the end of the Timeline by pressing the End key on your keyboard and changing the Evolution amount to 20 or any other value that you feel helps sell the concept.

Step 5:  Because the field will be a sphere, we need to apply the CC Sphere effect to the Map layer. 

By default the sphere is really small and will not fit the house quite right.  And without any reference it will be hit and miss to properly place the layer correctly.


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Related Keywords:after effects, displacement map, after effects tutorial, force field, cc sphere, fractal noise, schleicher, exercise, tutorial, adobe, after effects

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